Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to improve a person’s well-being. Under hypnosis, the individual enters a trance-like state in which the body is deeply relaxed but the mind is active and able to focus on the therapist’s suggestions.
It is not known how hypnotherapy works. However, one commonly accepted theory is that hypnosis causes the conscious mind to be switched off so that the unconscious mind becomes more responsive to the helpful suggestions made by the therapist. Contrary to popular belief, there is no loss of control under hypnosis – no one can be made to do anything they do not want to do.
How is Hypnotherapy performed?
Hypnosis can be achieved in various ways. The hypnotherapist may just speak to you slowly and soothingly, or may ask you to look at a fixed or moving object either in front of you or at the edge of your vision.
Once you are in a responsive state, the hypnotherapist will make suggestions designed to help you take control of aspects of your emotional and physical well-being. For example, he or she might encourage you to change a particular behaviour, or enable you to cope better with your symptoms and treatment.
How can Hypnotherapy help?
People with cancer have found that hypnotherapy can help relieve:
- Sleep problems
Hypnotherapy can be used in combination with orthodox medical treatments and other complementary therapies. It is generally very safe, but may cause negative side effects, such as increased anxiety, in some people. It is not appropriate for people with epilepsy or psychoses.